We had some fun expectations! My five-year-old and I were excited about Back to School shopping, choosing her favorite pencil box, a backpack and for her first time, a lunch box. We were especially looking forward to, albeit a bit nervous, about the first day of school. As schools close and knowing we won’t be able to do her first day of school as anticipated, how do we prepare for the First Day of School?
1. Parent Attitude – Bring a positive, excited attitude to however your child’s new school year begins – virtually or through a hybrid model. Even though we may be frustrated with what the new school year looks like, it doesn’t mean our children should feel our frustration or go into the new school year with a bad attitude. It will determine their success!
2. Clean Space for Learning – Create a space with few distractions, the less, the better! Keep it simple, put out only the materials your child will need. Simple and natural colors will also calm your child’s mind and will prevent them from being over-stimulated.
3. Create a routine and stick to it – Create a routine together with pictures. Once you’ve posted your routine in a place where your child can see it, hold each other accountable to follow it. Remember to have “Kitchen hours” for snack and lunch times to promote healthy eating and routine.
4. Body + Mind Breaks – It will be overwhelming to whiz through all the assigned work in one session. Taking frequent breaks supports your child’s mental health. Your child will also be able to retain more information when they’re able to focus. Try some yoga, jumping jacks, or a dance party.
5. Set Boundaries and Expectations – Set boundaries by setting screen time in the afternoon after their schoolwork is finished. Avoid any distractions – like tv, videogames, or phones – even during breaks. Use language to help distinguish what is expected of your child – “Right now, we’re working”. Then add something your child will look forward to, for example “we’ll garden when you’re finished”.
6. Build a strong relationship with your child’s teacher – Communication is key! As a former kindergarten teacher, I found it’s always easier to share feedback with parents when I know their child and have established a relationship their parent. With everything being virtual at the start of the year, it is our responsibility as parents to help our children build a relationship with their teacher.
Remember, as your child’s first teacher, set them up for success! Find your community of parents so you can support one another through challenges. This is new to all of us, and we can only become stronger by supporting one another to best serve our children.
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